DA charges suspects in Hollister shooting

This is the home where the shooting occurred. Police arrested

The San Benito County District Attorney’s Office plans to charge
two suspects in connection with the shooting death of a 14-year-old
Hollister girl, while the male juvenile accused of accidentally
firing the gun will face a charge of involuntary manslaughter,
District Attorney Candice Hooper said Tuesday.
The San Benito County District Attorney’s Office plans to charge two suspects in connection with the shooting death of a 14-year-old Hollister girl, while the male juvenile accused of accidentally firing the gun will face a charge of involuntary manslaughter, District Attorney Candice Hooper said Tuesday.

Hollister police Monday arrested two male juveniles, a 15-year-old suspected of shooting and killing Genevieve Destefanis early Saturday morning, and another 16-year-old accused of acting as an accessory in helping him to elude authorities.

While the district attorney’s office will charge the suspected shooter with involuntary manslaughter, the other teenager faces a formal charge of being an accessory after the fact, Hooper said.

The two suspects in the case will be charged in juvenile court. An involuntary manslaughter conviction carries a maximum penalty of two to four years in state prison. An accessory conviction would result in a maximum fine of $5,000, one year in jail or prison, or both.

Police still are looking for 17-year-old Robert Rodriguez, of Hollister, to question him in the case as a person of interest. They were out doing more follow-up questioning Tuesday, said police Capt. David Westrick.

“Hopefully, we’ll have something more on the other kid (Rodriguez) this week,” Westrick said.

Hooper in making the decision to charge the 15-year-old with involuntary manslaughter said her office agreed with a police report recommending the charge due to the belief the juvenile accidentally fired the gunshot that killed Destefanis.

“We pretty much concur with that,” Hooper said.

Destefanis had been with a group of juveniles that included the two residents arrested Monday and Rodriguez. Prior to the shooting outside a home near Rancho San Justo Middle School, the group fled from contact with police who had been responding to a disturbance call, and ended up at the home where the shooting occurred on East Park Street and Sherwood Avenue, Police Chief Jeff Miller said Monday.

Those involved fled after discharging the gun, which investigators located Monday in the same area they found the two suspects.

From witness statements, police determined that the 15-year-old had been handling the firearm when it accidentally discharged. The bullet struck Destefanis in the chest, and she collapsed immediately, according to a statement. Police believe the gun had been in possession of a known gang member before Saturday’s shooting.

Police responded around 2:40 a.m. Saturday to the house. Police found the girl on the lawn area close to the sidewalk bordering the street. Responders initially made efforts to resuscitate the girl before she died at the scene.

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